CUMBERLAND — Jack Renkens knows that when he talks about the realities of college recruiting, he might bruise the egos of parents and athletes.

“It’s a business,” Renkens said. “I’m one of the few guys telling parents and students what it’s like.”

Renkens, 67, now of Scottsdale, Arizona, is a former men’s basketball coach who for the past 22 years has traveled the country giving prospective college athletes and their parents his take on the hard-edged business of recruiting.

It boils down to three key themes.

The objective is to get education fully funded.

Recruits don’t pick the school, the schools pick the recruits.

And, if a college doesn’t pay, then the athlete won’t play.

It’s a message Renkens says he’s delivered more than 4,000 times, and Monday night it was given to a crowd of about 85 students, parents and high school coaches at Greely Middle School in Cumberland with a blunt approach.

“It was brutally honest,” said Brian Fraser, a parent from Cumberland.

Renkens’ visit was part of a series of talks sponsored by the Western Maine Conference, said Greely Athletic Director David Shapiro. For a total fee of $1,200, Renkens also spoke Sunday to WMC coaches and will be at Poland Regional High School on Tuesday and at Fryeburg Academy on Wednesday. His talks Tuesday and Wednesday are open to the public.

“My message is to be realistic,” Renkens said after Monday’s talk. “This is all about getting your education, going somewhere where you’re going to play and to get it funded. That doesn’t necessarily mean athletic funding.”

Renkens emphasized that parents and athletes have to be willing to look beyond their local area and explore options at smaller, lesser-known schools. He said colleges want to have as many states as possible represented in their student body. For instance, a student from Maine with skills in field hockey and a strong GPA is more attractive to a Division III school in Minnesota or Iowa than they are to a New England college. That D-III school can’t offer an athletic scholarship, but it could offer enough grants and scholarships to cover the total cost of education.

“You have to consider leaving New England to be in a position to negotiate,” Renkens said.

Shapiro said he first heard Renkens speak at last spring’s Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association meeting and felt his message was relevant.

Renkens said he gives about 180 presentations a year.

“It’s possible that for someone, this talk will be a way of saving a quarter of a million dollars, and that’s 45 minutes well spent,” Shapiro said.

Renkens used to be on the other side of the recruiting game as a junior college and NCAA men’s basketball coach, including an 11-year stint as the coach and athletic director at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, from 1985-95. His teams went 131-145 and qualified for the NCAA Division II tournament three times.

When his own daughter was in high school, Renkens began to realize parents needed a guidebook to the recruiting business. He produced a one-page handout for friends. Then it became a small pamphlet. Now, he annually revises his book “Recruiting Realities: It’s a Game; Know the Rules.” He was selling the 2016-17 edition for $20 after the presentation.

“I think he’s right that it is a game,” said Lisa Cooke of Falmouth. “We’ve told our daughter not to set her heart on one college. I think (the presentation) confirmed a lot of what we thought.”

Cooke’s daughter, Adelaide, is entering her senior year at Falmouth High. A three-sport participant, Cooke was the Maine Sunday Telegram’s girls’ track and field Athlete of the Year.

Other points of emphasis included that if a college coach is really interested in a recruit, they will pay for an official visit; that all students and parents should get the free “Guide for the College-Bound Student Athlete” published annually by the NCAA; and the potentially disastrous consequences of social media exposure.

At the end of the presentation, Renkens reverted to a recruiter giving his own sales pitch. He encouraged parents to get “the ball rolling” by signing up for his company’s “Recruiting Realities” program, designed to enhance an athlete’s chance of “securing funding and a roster spot in a college program.”